A Better Rotator Cuff Rehab Tool
The Rotater Story – Movie version
Hey if you want the fast and dirty details, watch the movie … if you want all the juicy details, go below the video and read the “book”.
The Rotater Story – Book version
Joint Mechanix, LLC was founded in August of 2007 by long-time friends Scott Kay and Chris Melton … we created this company to manufacture and market the Rotater, a shoulder rehab and performance tool Scott invented so he could return to racing. We never imagined our rotator cuff rehab tool would touch people all over the world!
We’re not Health Professionals!
That surprises some people – but they’re even more surprised to learn we’re really industrial mechanics. That’s right, we fix machines – BIG machines. But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Here’s our story from the beginning.
The SuperMoto Race, Ocala, Florida – 2005
Scott Kay has been a motorcycle racer for thirty years – Motocross, road racing, flat track, SuperMoto – you name it, he’s done it. Anyway, Scott was warming up for the SuperMoto race and was having problems with a nasty series of jumps or moguls or whatever you call them (I’m not a motorcycle racer). Being the thinker he is, Scott stopped to watch the professional racers and hopefully learn something. The pros were having no difficulty at all. In fact, they were flying over the same obstacle. (I guess that’s why they’re professionals.) After watching the pros for a few minutes, Scott decided to try their technique ( at full speed ) and took off on his last warm-up lap before the race. Little did he know that it would be his last lap of any kind for quite a while.
I’m sure the scene must have looked very different in his “mind’s eye” than what really happened – but that’s often the case for everyone. Isn’t it?
Rapid compression is followed by violent decompression
When Scott’s motorcycle hit the first bump (at full speed), his rear tire and shock compressed completely – immediately followed by a rapid and violent decompression. The result was a sudden, radical catapulting effect launching Scott high above the handlebars and into a full handstand. It was like something you’d expect to see on the X-Games where some guy jumps his bike real high and then scoots to all kinds of positions in the air before getting back on the motorcycle for a beautiful landing. The only problem – Scott had not practiced the “beautiful landing” part.
High altitude, high speed, vertical face-plant
Basically, Scott did a high altitude, high speed, vertical face-plant directly into the motorcycle track, with his shoulder taking most of the impact. As you may have guessed – Scott’s shoulder was badly damaged and required surgery. This would be his third shoulder surgery ( not to mention all the other repairs ), so he knew he would be in for a long recovery before shoulder rehab could start.
Shoulder surgery is successful
Scott’s surgery was successful and he began the long road to recovery. As Scott’s shoulder rehabilitation progressed, he started to get antsy. Racing season was approaching and he knew he wasn’t ready. He began to question his physical therapists about how long his shoulder rehab was taking, but they assured him that he was doing “just fine”. Scott’s reply was, “…but I can’t even reach behnd my back”.
“That’s your external and internal rotation”
Scott’s physical therapists told him his struggle to reach behind his back was due to his lack of internal rotation. Because of the amount of time his shoulder had been immobile, both the internal and external rotation of his shoulder had been compromised resulting in limited range of motion. This is very common after shoulder surgery.
What can I do to increase my shoulder range of motion?
Being a proactive patient, Scott asked about the possibility of purchasing a shoulder rehab device he could use at home to supplement his physical therapy. He wanted to increase his shoulder flexibility and range of motion. His PTs gave him the standard “home” shoulder rehab exercises to do, but told him there wasn’t a shoulder rehab tool available that would duplicate the internal and external rotation stretches they performed during his office visits.
That conversation changed our lives, shoulder rehabilitation and sports medicine – forever. That’s a big statement, but it’s true.
Scott Kay invents the Rotater
Scott went home and then out to the shop behind his house (where he builds and maintains his motorcycles). He began experimenting – convinced that he could build a device that would replicate the stretches and stretching sensations he felt during his physical therapy sessions. Several prototypes later, he’d created a shoulder device that would work – and nothing like it existed!
After using his “Rotater” (that’s what he named it) for a few days, Scott became concerned that he might be harming his newly repaired shoulder. About the same time, his PTs started asking Scott about his recent gains in flexibility and range of motion. So, Scott told them about his Rotater. The PTs wanted to see this shoulder device and a demonstration. They were impressed and told Scott he had to get a patent right away. ( On a side note – due to incorrect information and bad advice, we almost didn’t get the patent filed in time – we filed it with only one day to spare ).
“Am I damaging my shoulder?”
Scott was more concerned with whether he was damaging his newly repaired shoulder, but his physical therapist assured him the Rotater prototype was a great shoulder tool and no damage was being done. On a side note: There have been several times when we’ve been approached at an athletic trainers conference or medical conference by people who are amazed by the simplicity and effectiveness of the Rotater. Their comments usually sound something like this, “…the Rotater is so simple. I’ve been stretching shoulders for 20 years – I can’t believe I didn’t think of it. It’s an excellent device.”
Here are some cool things that have happend along the way
- We met Donald Trump … very cool
- We’ve had orders from several NFL teams and athletes in other professional sports
- We’ve partnered with distributors from the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia
- The Rotater has been featured on TV a couple of times, been in the newspaper several times and in several national magazines as well
A few interesting notes about Scott Kay:
- he is a part-time technical college instructor in the fields of industrial maintenance, welding and machinist technology
- he has invented several other interesting devices that I’m sure you’ll hear about in the future
- he is an entrepreneur
Chris Melton is:
- an industrial maintenance technician, follower of the Paleo lifestyle and blogger (Shoulder Rehab and Performance)
- a two-time graduate of Auburn University with B.S. degrees in Finance and Animal Science
- a pseudo-computer geek ( I spend way too much time on the computer and need to justify it )
- a life-long entrepreneur
- the head evangelist for the Rotater